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suicide. there are 12 a day. depression and bullying have to be discussed. we have to talk about the over medicating of our children. a lack of access to health care, and resources. instead, we get the knee-jerk call for more gun laws on the left and the knee-jerk defense of guns on the right. that's not a conversation. that's a stalemate. we will have to change, the president told us from newtown over the weekend, and he's absolutely right. we all want to prevent another tragedy. so let's have a real serious conversation about it for once. okay. that does it for "the cycle." martin, it's all yours. >> s.e., i would be interested to hear your response to what jeffrey swanson, professor of psychiatry said when he said we're not even good at preventing minor violence. when you're talking about a mass shooting, that's a needle in the haystack. the mental health issues are not that straightforward are they?
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>> no, they're not. they're incredibly complex. the policies are incredibly complex. there are already laws on the books that do not adequately deal with this, but it's a conversation we need to have and we need to have it more often. >> okay. thank you, s.e., and thank you all of you on "the cycle." good afternoon. it's tuesday, december 18th, and as those killed in newtown are laid to rest, now is the time for action. >> that's the picture. that's the emotion that will pull this thing. >> the voices of reason cannot be silenced. >> record sales of these firearms. >> they advertise armor-piercing bullets. >> enough is enough. >> an ak-15, i'm not sure we need that. >> assault weapons account for less than 2% of the murders in this country. if you're in that 2%, you know, believe me, i understand that.
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>> do they want to be saying two years from now, which they will, and four years from now, as the party of glocks. >> the second amendment culture has been totally captured by extremists. >> i heard the governor of texas today wants every teacher to have a gun. >> you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state. [ cheers and applause ] >> enough is enough. we begin as newtown, connecticut, memorializes more of its innocent victims. even as some children return to school, they are passing by the funeral processions of children their own age. this afternoon wakes are being held for 27-year-old first grade teacher vicki soto who worked to shield students before she herself was slain. and two young pupils, 7-year-old
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daniel barden and charlotte bacon. as newtown and the nation weep for these young lives cut short, pressure is mounting to change the laws around gun access in this country. the white house said this afternoon in the boldest terms yet that the president is engaging his support for greater gun control measures. >> he is actively supportive of, for example, senator feinstein's stated intent to revive a piece of legislation that would reinstate the assault weapons ban. >> jay carney also said the president would support closing the so-called gun show loophole that averts background checks. but even if both measures passed, we're left with the problem of how we define an assault weapon. republican congressman told my colleague thomas roberts a few hours ago that the weapon used at sandy hook did not meet that
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distinction. >> we have to remember, connecticut has the fifth toughest gun control laws in the country, including an assault weapon ban that bans 35 different weapons. the weapon that was used was not an assault weapon. therefore, it wasn't banned. >> indeed, a bushmaster ar-15 rifle like the one lanza used is legal in connecticut despite the assault weapon ban there as long as it lacks two of certain futures, like a grenade launcher and a bayonet mount. in fact, it's the most popular rifle in america. owned by some 3 million people. this model at bud's gun shop just sold out online this very afternoon. another model seen here from the bushmaster's website shows the many features of such a weapon, and heard on the video, a chilling reminder of the sound that rang through the school as the shooting began on friday morning.
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a horrifying noise, if ever there was one. i want to bring in nbc news justice correspondent pete williams with us from washington. pete, this weapon that lanza used at sandy hook elementary, a military-style rifle with 30 rounds in the clip, hundreds more at the ready, this is legal in a state with an assault weapons ban. tell our audience how is that possible? >> it's possible because of the way that assault weapons are defined in the law. this was true in the original assault weapons ban that was a federal one from 1994 to 2004. what it does is it says if a weapon possesses a certain number of features that the law considers to be primarily for military purpose such as a flash suppressor or a collapsable stock, if you have enough of those features, then the weapon becomes an assault weapon and it's banned. if it doesn't have enough of
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those features, then it's not. it's not the overall construction of the weapon. it's the focus on these individual features. and this is sort of the heart of the controversy, martin, because on the one hand is the point i gather your question implies, which is the assault weapons restriction seems to be too narrow. on the other hand, the people who oppose assault weapons restrictions say, you know, they're so arbitrary. this list is kind of just sort of in essence in the eye of the beholder. so that's going to be a controversy again as senator feinstein pursues her assault weapons ban law, and one of the interesting things to be watching for, martin, is this. when the original federal ban was in place, it didn't take long for gun manufacturers to make models that complied with the assault weapons ban, and that's what you see in connecticut, for example. so guns that are made with only enough features to get them under the ban so that they can
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still be sold. the other attention will be on the so-called high capacity magazines. any of the clips that go into the gun that can hold more than ten rounds, that's the legal definition of a high capacity magazine, and i think there are a lot of people who would say -- who are skeptical of the assault weapons ban the first time around nonetheless thought that was more effective so that will be an equal part of the debate. >> a remarkable explanation. pete williams. thank you, sir. i want to bring in our panel. we m is msnbc contributor joy reid who is the managing editor of and in philadelphia, lehigh university professor james peterson, also a contributor to the grio. joy, in the call for an assault weapons ban, one argument being used is that of 12,664 homicides in the united states last year, only 323 involved the use of a rifle. so i guess that's case argued, is it? that's fine. we don't need to ban assault
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weapons. >> of course, that sounds like the argue am on the right that this is just the price of freedom. i don't think can look at those pictures you showed earlier, of those little kids, of that young teacher in her 20s, and say that's an appropriate price of freedom. when you look at the other kinds of deaths that happened, gang related deaths, those are with assault weapons, the people who are sweeping a street with 30 and 100 rounds of ammunition and then killing a 2-year-old in it's -- the cross fire. what normal rational people needs to fire off 100 rounds in a clip. i don't think you shoot deer that way. this other idea we can't eliminate them because it's too hard. >> there are 300 million firearms. >> then that means that american exceptionalism is bunk because australia did it. they instituted a stringent ban and saw her murder rate go down.
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>> professor peterson, can you educate me because i'm a foreigner from a strange land. why do 3 million americans fear the need to have a fearsome killing machine like the ar-15 even though it doesn't have a grenade launcher attached to it. why would such a weapon be available for sale online? >> i think there's two things to consider. i don't know if this indication is going to help you understand why america is the way it is, but, number one, we've talked a little bit about the culture of violence in america, which thinks about films and thinks about how masculinity is skon strukted, and thinks about video games. we haven't talked too much about the culture of fear in america which is there's a lot of sort of commercial efforts around the intersections of fear and purchasing guns or fear and purchasing things like duct tape. we're very, very good at advertising and promoting fear in this country, and one of the responses to that is consuming
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guns. that's why you see the uptick in the consumption of guns around the election of this president, around any kind of discussions of policy efforts to control guns or to move into a realm of common sense gun safety. and the response is people buy a whole lot of guns. >> so, professor, you seem to be defining this as some kind of irrational panic mechanism. is that what you're saying? >> it's not irrational if you think about how people are driven to consume based upon fear. sometimes this is about race. it's fear of like people invading or coming into your community or coming into your neighborhood or into your home. sometimes it's fear about other things like fear of a government, the government is too overblown or the government is going to take away your freedom. if you map this, you will see the areas that are more susceptible to this kind of fearmongering. we don't talk about the consumption of guns as a response to it, but that's one of the responses to the culture of fear in america. >> joy, i would like you and
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professor peterson to listen to the great rick perry who has offered his considered views in a report in texas. listen to this. >> to have access to weapons in their school, and that i would suggest -- >> the crowd erupted in applause when governor perry even alluded to arming texas teachers. >> is that the answer? >> you know, martin, teachers are expected to be in a lot of cases surrogate parents. they're buying school supplies for kids who don't have them. they're helping kids who don't have money for school lunches. in a lot of cases there are almost de facto baby-sitters. teachers have so much that they are required to do. are we now saying that they have to be de facto law enforcement in their classrooms? do we want to have a gun locker in every class? do we want to have a gun available that a child could get their hands on it? what kind of a society do people like rick perry want us to live in? we have chosen to live here, not in war-torn -- >> but it's all about freedom. live free and die is what he says. >> it sounds like a very
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mogadishu type of freedom. it sounds like they want to live in a lawless, wild west sort of world where everyone for themselves and everyone is shooting. the cross fire could kill so many people. the idea of sending your children to what amounts to an armed camp rather than to school is insane. >> professor peterson, you work on campus every day. you teach students in lecture theaters. you hold tutorials. do you agree that the lesson of friday's shooting is educators like you, like you, should be given clearance to carry a firearm? >> absolutely not. and i also work with public school teachers in philadelphia and pittsburgh and chicago and some of the most challenged areas of this nation and not one of the teachers i work with, and thee face these threats on a daily basis, not one of the teachers i work with would advocate something like this. not only does it distract from what we need to be talking about, the real issues about common sense gun safety, about mental health, about the culture of violence, but every time you hear someone on any television screen saying we should be
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purchasing more guns in response to this, to me they're just in bed with the nra. to me they're just aligned with the leadership in the nra which is in bed with the gun lobby, a highly resourced lobby that controls too many of our politicians at the state and national level. i'm sorry, but governor rick perry has unveiled himself as being part of that lobby today. >> and by the way, martin, what an insult to professional law enforcers. what an insult to our men and women in the military who train and put their lives on the line to conduct actual, you know, security, who protect our freedoms and who are well-trained to do it, to say any old person could be able to pull out a gun and do what they do. you know what? that's not true, and ask somebody in the military, ask -- i have a lot of friends who are police officers. ask them how it feels to have to use your gun. ask what that does to them psychological to have to use their gun. ask how hard it is to kill another human being. to say any teacher should prepare themselves mentally, emotionally and psychological to kill at any moment. what kind of people do they
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think we are? >> i think we've had confirmation that rick perry is really without much thought. joy reid and professor james peterson, thank you both. next, the nra may be silent, but that doesn't mean they've stopped working. stay with us. hello. i'm stephanie sanford and this is the nra grassroots news minute for friday, december 14th. [ woman ] dear cat, your hair mixes with pollen and dust. i get congested. but now, with zyrtec-d®, i have the proven allergy relief of zyrtec®, plus a powerful decongestant. zyrtec-d® lets me breath freer, so i can love the air. [ male announcer ] zyrtec-d®. behind the pharmacy counter. no prescription needed. 14th.
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since friday's newtown shooting, the nra has been on media lockdown, absent from the very public debate on gun control that's going on. facebook page, gone. twitter account, not active.
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videos on its little known nra news site, well, those were playing for us earlier today. but once the media learned of them, they suddenly weren't. we've tried repeatedly to get a comment from then ra two days in a row and for two days a person who refused to give us their name only said they would take down our information. today the person told us, please understand we're receiving a lot of requests. i bet you are. joining us now is democratic congressman john yarmuth of kentucky who has come out in favor of tougher gun laws. good afternoon, sir. the nra is outwardly silent, but you know in reality this organization, they must now be at work calling their friends in congress, briefing them as to how they can divert attention away from the assault weapons that were used on friday to murder 20 children and 6 adults. they're not quiet at all, are they? >> well, probably not, but actually i think their public silence is a very good sign because it's not typical of the way they work.
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they usually use a tragedy like this to kind of scare people more so they'll go out and buy guns more, and so i actually take this as a good sign. they see this as something very different. >> and yet, sir, this is an organization with a budget of $300 million. an organization that's promoted legislation wherever it can, an organization that's been here many, many times before from virginia tech to newtown now connecticut, they know how to go silent and they absolutely know how to suffocate any attempt to increase gun safety, gun controls, don't they? >> clearly. they have been very successful internally. what i have tried to do over the last couple days is to talk about the fact that this is where their real power is. it's really because they give so much money to members of congress. it's not because they really affect outcomes in election. i think their political power is actually pretty illusory, but their ability to influence legislation at all levels is very, very strong.
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again, with the $300 million you're talking about. >> let me play something one of your colleagues has just said. take a listen to this. >> here we have a town which was controlled in the house by democrats, in the senate by democrats, and the white house by democrats for two years, and nothing took place for stricter gun control laws. so for the partisans in our country to already start injecting politics in here, that saddens me further. >> congressman, that is an nra talking point right there, isn't it? don't inject politics in the gun control debate. how is anyone ever going to control weapons unless there is some political will? >> well, exactly, and that's why i think this instance is different. i think, first of all, you have a president who is committed to provide leadership on the question. you've got people reaching out from all over the country who were in agony and still are in agony over this incredible
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tragedy. there's going to be a drum beat that will continue, and so i think that their strategies probably are going to run into a little bit of resistance now. you see the cracks coming. joe scarborough over the last couple days, people like senator manchin and senator warner, you see some republicans even showing themselves open to talking about reasonable regulation, and so, again, i think that this is going to be a very different situation. >> well, cogmngressman, i don't know if it's the magical effect of your presence on our broadcast, but we have at this moment received a statement from the nra. here is the statement. the national rifle association of america is made up of 4 million moms and dads, sons and daughters, and we were shocked, saddened, and heart broken by the news of the horrific, senseless murders in newtown. that is their statement. i guess we carry on then, do we? nothing changes?
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an expression of sympathy and no interest in any kind of resolution? >> that's where i think the shame is, and maybe in the next couple days they will wise up, but they need to be part of the talks. they need to be at the table instead of talking about this slippery slope nonsense and just trying to scare their members more. their members, most of them are very responsible gun owners. they don't agree with the nra leadership. 74% of them want expanded background checks. they want to make sure that guns are used properly and acquired properly by the right people. it's their leadership who really are bought and paid for by the gun manufacturers that are exploiting their members and unfortunately having great affect in the halls of congress and state legislatures around the country. >> indeed. we have just heard that the nra is going to hold a major news conference on friday, the 21st, this friday. we shall look forward to their contribution to this very, very important debate. congressman john yarmuth, as ever, thank you, sir.
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>> thank you, martin. >> stay with us. much more ahead. >> hi, i'm chuck norris. a black belt patriot. if some thug breaks into my home, i can use my roundhouse kick, but i'd prefer he look down the barrel of my gun. ♪
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killed. they made us choose which one of us would be shot first and when we refused, there were mock shootin shootings. >> richard engel and his two colleagues are safely out of syria, a bright spot of news during this difficult week. stay with us, the days "top lines" are coming up. when it comes to the financial obstacles military families face, we understand. at usaa, we know military life is different. we've been there. that's why every bit of financial advice we offer is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] ♪ [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help.
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five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. . from sobering moments in a late night to a badly needed conversation about guns. here are today's "top lines," a change is gonna come. >> i hope we can laugh a bit tonight after a horrible weekend. >> you think about the kids in class. are we supposed to be worried about dropping our kids off at school? >> the president said what needed to be said. >> he's committed, going on the record, some kind of action. >> i just want the people in connecticut to know that we do not take what you're going through lightly. >> are we really prepared to say
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that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? >> i'm a proud nra member. >> enough is enough. >> i don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting. >> i'm the father of three daughters. they said, dad, how can this go on? >> the nra's power is so vastly overrated. >> we need to accept the reality that we're not doing enough to protect our citizens. >> i want to be one of those people that's reasonable and will listen to anything. >> we must limit the proliferation of weapons and ammunition that have no other purpose than to kill citizens. >> assault weapons account for less than 2% of the murders in this country. >> clips were used with 30 cartridges. >> if you're in that 2%, i understand that. >> it's clear that gun is not for the streets. it's a gun of war. >> a good percentage of the handguns work their way up i-95 from states in which there are substantially easier gun laws. >> the republicans are going to
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have to figure out, do they want to be seen as the party of glocks? >> to already start injecting politics in here, that saddens me. >> this is a difficult time for americans. it's not a time to put americans through more stress. >> we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. and to end them we must change. >> let's get right to our panel now. professor michael eric dyson of georgetown university joins us. hogan gidley, former communications director for rick santorum, and mike viqueira who is live at the capitol for us. before we get to our first question, there's been some breaking news. first, the "hartford courant" citing the medical examiner is reporting that nancy lanza, mother of the newtown gunman, died from four gunshot wounds to the head and that she was probably asleep at the time of her death. meantime, we now have a statement from the nra. the group is breaking their silence, they say, and i'm quoting, the nra is prepared to
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offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again. if i might begin with professor dyson, do you believe this claim from the nra, sir? >> well, we'll see if it turns out to be true. let's argue in good faith. let's negotiate in good faith. let's assume they're willing to do something. such a statement of course is a sign of progress. it's a sign that everybody realizes that all parties to this must come together, must converge around a common interest, and that is to protect our children and to do whatever is necessary to make them safe. martin, i'm going to offer them my goodwill belief that they're willing to do the right thing, but it can't just be willingness. it has to be political pressure brought to bear as has been done in this case and not only on the nra, but to all parties, to the senate, to the presidency, to congress, to the house of representatives to make sure that everyone is willing to do whatever is necessary to get this done. >> now, speaking of that, mike, the president has promised meaningful action on guns, but
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how far is he really willing to go because when you and i were listening to him on sunday as he spoke, he said he would use the powers that his office bestows, almost acknowledging that those powers are limited by the legislators in the building behind you. >> but you have heard a lot of people say that the president can do more by executive action, but i think as this shakes out, martin, it's become clear if the president is to do something significant and answer the many calls for doing something more on assault weapons, for example, renewing that ban, which would be a place to start, which will be reintroduced in the next congress, it's going to take legislative action. martin, the staggering horror of what happened in connecticut obviously being felt here. it's obviously changed the dynamic of the debate and while many leaders, you heard john boehner say now is not the time to talk about this, to add more stress to those people who are suffering, those parents in that community in newtown, connecticut. they are clearly feeling some pressure to act more, and i think what we've heard from the nra just in the last ten minutes
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there is something incredibly significant. obviously, they've been laying very low. obviously, this is their pattern, their practice, their strategy, if you will, when we go through these horrors, these mass killings, to sort of lay low and let the outrage die down somewhat, and then maintain an absolutist position. it's going to be very interesting to see if that same position is held by the nra when the press conference is held on friday that they just announced. >> mike, you heard new york city mayor mike bloomberg saying if congressmen and the president can't get together and address the fiscal cliff and assault weapons and the violent gun crime that marks and mars this nation, then what kind of people have we elected? >> well, martin, i hate to be crass about it, but we're entering a period where after they do, if they do solve this question of the fiscal cliff, the congress is going to be gone. they come back on january 3rd. there will be no business done
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in congress until late in january and we'll see what the mood is then. >> after gabby giffords was shot in the head, carolyn mccarthy introduced a bill to ban high capacity magazines. as co-sponsors. not a single republican would do so. should the president expect more of the same even after 20 children have been murdered? >> i think he's going to see a complete change in a lot of those republicans. >> really? >> i do. you know, the nra obviously has been powerful in the past. the admission today they would like to work with people about some things, and we don't know what they're going to bring out and what they're going to put forward, but obviously this changes the dynamic significantly. after things like this, we obviously turn to anger, we obviously try to shift blame, but if i go to the doctor and he says you have cancer, how can i get rid of the cancer, doc, he says take two aspirin. it doesn't get rid of the cancer
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but it makes you feel better. we need legislation that will accomplish something. there will be talk about gun control. there should be talk about mental health issues, talk about the culture of violence, about parental involvement in children's lives. there's a whole gambit that needs to be addressed, but if we're going to dig our heels in as republicans or the nra and say no to every sensible conversation, we stand to suffer politically but we also stand to suffer as a country. >> hogan, you talk about specifics and addressing a broad range of things. it seems remarkable that if i buy my wife lingerie, it's marked with some kind of bar code. but if i buy ammunition, it's not marked at all. there's no controls over ammunition. is that not a remarkable truth of modern america, that underwear is digitally marked but ammunition for weapons is not? >> right. and to my knowledge, i don't know anyone that's died from linger
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lingerie. but, look, this is a much bigger issue than this one shooting. this one shooting has elevated this. i think it's time for us to have this conversation. and we're going to talk about everything from ammunition to clip size to the guns that are sold, and we need to have that conversation, and it's time for republicans to step forward with the nra and have the conversation, be out in front of it, and say, look, let's talk. let's come to the table, but let's come to a solution here that actually solves a problem and could prevent some of these crimes as opposed to just feel-good legislation that really doesn't accomplish anything. >> professor dyson, is that the danger that con flunt fronts us, feel-good legislation that does nothing? >> let me say, first of all, let me address the brassieres versus bullets argument that you and hogan are having. it's true although some would argue brassieres have killed more than we can account for, the reality is this, that's even more of a reason. since bullets kill and brassieres don't, to have a bar code on the bullets. he's making your point for you.
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beyond that, it's not about feel-good legislation, but we have to put the argument forward that we have had enough murder and violence in this culture for us to all come together and say enough is enough. and that means why do we have to have these large clips and strips and drums? why do we need these high capacity magazines? we saw the republican senator say when i go out shooting, i have only had two or three bullets. i don't need an entire magazine to fill a bear. the reality is that there's no justification remaining that the nra or any pro-gun, you know, toting advocate could possibly have. it's time for us to use common sense to tamp down on this. this is not a lethal subversion of the second amendment. this is a common sense application. but we saw gary wills in the new york review of books said we have idolatry in this culture and the idolatry is of the gun. and our god is the gun.
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we must somehow commit a kind of moral and theological treachery against that god and disbelieve in that god so the real moral consciousness of the nation can come forward. >> let's hope repentance starts now. michael eric dyson, hogan gidley, mike viqueira. we have just received a heart-breaking picture of another one of the school victims at the sandy hook elementary. the family of 6-year-old allison wyatt released this photo and a statement describing their daughter as sweet, creative, funny, and intelligent, adding quite simply that allison made the world a better place, and so she did. ♪ oh, let me guess -- more washington gridlock. no, it's worse -- look, our taxes are about to go up. not the taxes on our dividends though, right? that's a big part of our retirement. oh, no, it's dividends, too. the rate on our dividends would more than double.
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but we depend on our dividends to help pay our bills. we worked hard to save. well, the president and congress have got to work together to stop this dividend tax hike. before it's too late. plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+.
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that is the end... of carousel one. ...of carousel one. there's carousel two! all right! [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chiles, you'll get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. despite the tragedy in connecticut, work in washington continues this week, and just hours ago we learned that the president has rejected house speaker john boehner's so-called
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plan "b" to avert the fiscal cliff. this comes after the president offered boehner a deal monday to raise revenues by $1.2 trillion over ten years and keep the bush tax cuts for those earning under $400,000 a year. boehner wants to extend those cuts for anyone making under a million dollars claiming the president's plan just isn't fair. >> i made it clear to the president that i would put a trillion dollars worth of revenue on the table if he were willing to put a trillion dollars of spending reductions on the table. that at this point would be my version of a balanced approach, as he called for it. >> congresswoman barbara lee is a democrat from california and she joins us. good afternoon, ma'am. >> good afternoon. >> given the president's willingness to give significant ground on tax cuts, what is your reaction to speaker boehner's latest offer, especially following friday's meeting when it appeared as though they might be close to a deal? >> well, of course, this is another one of the speaker's
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gimmicks. i think we have seen the president move forward and negotiate in good faith, and the speaker needs to stop playing games and come back and begin to negotiate in good faith. i think it's very important to recognize, martin, that this is a human cliff. today we talked with people who will be unemployed -- excuse me, they will not receive any more unemployment compensation after the 29th. we have 2 million who will be left hanging, no income to pay their bills, to pay their rent, to buy food. so this is a real human cliff we have to address, and we need to address it now. i hope the speaker understands that this is a human cliff, that people are feeling the pain, and that he needs to come back and negotiate in good faith. >> are you suggesting, ma'am, that this is a charade, that what's been going on between the president and speaker boehner has actually just been for, i guess, public consumption?
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>> well, it's hard to know. i think what we need to understand and recognize is that, as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we have to see exactly what the speaker comes up with. what the speaker is talking about now if you ask me is just a gimmick. i hope he's been negotiating in good faith. i know the president has. you have seen the president give, give, give, and that's how you negotiate. but i think it's very important that the speaker not do anything that -- privately and go through the motions where he can't stand behind that publicly and then change his course. so i'm hoping we can get a deal and get one that really addresses human beings and what the impact of this could be. >> absolutely. let me play you what minority leader nancy pelosi told our own andrea mitchell today when asked about speaker boehner's plan "b." take a listen. >> plan "b," i would call it plan befuddled. it's hard to imagine why they even came up with it unless they wanted to prove to their members that unless 218 of them were
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ready to raise rates, it's not going to pass. >> president also proposed ending the payroll tax cut as well as lower cost of living increases on social security which, of course, would result in moving more people into higher income tax brackets. you yourself have tweeted that you oppose raising the medicare eligibility age, but can you live with ending the payroll tax cut and changes to social security? >> let me say, martin, there are many of us who said we would not tolerate any cuts in benefits to medicare or to medicaid. that is just totally objectionable. i don't believe that seniors, the most vulnerable, the poor, and the disabled, need to pay the price. they already are suffering. they're living on the edge, and so i'm hoping that this deal that comes forward will not include benefit cuts in medicare and in social security. >> but if this is the only way the president can reach an agreement with speaker boehner before the end of the year, what choice does he have?
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>> well, let me just say, no cuts in benefits to medicare and medicaid. i don't believe that the president wants to allow seniors and low income individuals and the disabled to pay the price for this deal. i'm hoping that at the end of the day they will come up with a fair and balanced proposal that really is fair and balanced and that really doesn't place the burden once again on the back of the most vulnerable. >> congresswoman barbara lee from california, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> next, how will the white house respond to calls for the president to take more action on guns and gun violence? stay with us. ♪
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another hectic day for the president with everything from talks with congress to gun control competing for his attention. what to do about firearms is now one of the top questions facing this administration. kristin welker joins us live from the white house.
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kristin, we heard earlier from the white house spokesman that the president has embraced senator feinstein's proposal for re-enacting the ban on assault weapons, but it may be possible for him to do other things, at least according to new york city mayor mike bloomberg who said this on "morning joe." >> number one, what the president can do is possible, all he's got to do is get out his pen, okay? there are some things he can do. we have not had a director of alcohol, tobacco and firearms for six years. he can tell his prosecutors to prosecute the cases of those who are caught lying on their application. the president can got after rogue gun dealers. the federal government should be doing this. >> that's a rather long list of things the president could do. are you hearing the white house is considering any of the things mentioned by the mayor? >> reporter: well, i think that they are considering those proposals and a number of other proposals. i'm hearing we could hear
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something announced within the next few weeks, at least that is the president's goal. i think some of the other ideas that president obama is considering is limiting those high capacity clips or at least proposing legislation that would do that. and just generally cracking down on the violence -- the culture, i should say, of violence as well as increasing background checks, making sure that everyone who buys a gun has to undergo background checks. those are some of the other ideas being considered. one of the key questions is does he put forward an executive order, propose legislation, does he do both? what's interesting, martin, is if you talk to folks within the white house, they say immigration was going to be certainly one of his biggest focuses as he begins his second term. now this issue of gun violence has really risen up, and this is now going to be one of president obama's main policy concerns as well, which is not to say he's not going to be focused on immigration as well, but this is certainly going to be something he's quite focused on. >> jay carney, the president's spokesman, said the president was in favor of reinstating
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senator feinstein's assault weapons ban, but why are these ideas not coming from the president himself? or is he waiting perhaps for others, senators and so on, to lead the way on this issue? >> reporter: well, i think that he's trying to get input right now from a number of people. he sat down with his vice president and a number of members of his cabinet, secretary sebelius, attorney general eric holder, and asked them for input, asked them to come up with some proposals for dealing with this issue right now. so i do think that we're going to see some ideas come from the president, but certainly he's asking for a lot of input. one reason is because the white house says this is such a complex problem. it's not just an issue of guns and violence. it's also an issue of mental health and how we deal with those who are suffering from mental health disorders. if you look at all of these massacres, these tragic situations, they always involve someone who is suffering from some form of mental health. i think the president trying to address how do we not only treat
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those people but make sure guns stay out of their hands? martin? >> kristin welker at the white house. kristin, thanks so much. >> reporter: thanks. >> and we'll be right back.
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it's time now to "clear the air." and over the course of broadcasting for almost two years we've reported on a wide variety of issues and events that america has ever reason to be proud of. doesn't matter if you're talking about political governance, humanitarian aid, scientific discovery, or, indeed, the world of sport. this country has been a global leader and a beacon of light. but it's also saddled with a terrible citation, a world leader in violent gun crime. the latest of which produced the harrowing scenes in a bucolic connecticut town just 60 miles from here in new york. and as the mayor of new york made clear, nobody comes close to this country when it comes to
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gun violence. we are the only industrialized country that has this problem, said mayor bloomberg. in the whole world, the only one. but what is now equally astonishing is that some officials from governors to members of congress believe the answer is not a reduction in gun ownership, but extending the places where guns can be carried. >> you should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state. >> hearing the heroic stories of the principal lunging, trying to protect. chris, i wish to god she had had an m-4 in her office. >> the best response to this idiocy has been published by a pulitzer prize-winning journalist in "the washington post." that some right wing lawmakers and commentators have responded to newtown, writes eugene

Martin Bashir
MSNBC December 18, 2012 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

News/Business. Journalist Martin Bashir uncovers breaking news stories. New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 17, America 7, Boehner 6, Nra 6, Rick Perry 4, Feinstein 4, Peterson 3, Washington 3, Texas 3, Connecticut 3, Obama 2, Kristin Welker 2, John Yarmuth 2, Barbara Lee 2, Mike Bloomberg 2, Mike Viqueira 2, Pete Williams 2, Usaa 2, Unitedhealthcare Insurance Company 2, James Peterson 2
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